Atlantic City Crime, Boarding Houses and Boardwalk Repair

The monthly Boardwalk Committee meeting was held on April 10, 2019. Here are some key take-aways from that meeting.

Dale Finch of L&I was scheduled to discuss the City’s boarding house regulations and guidelines, as well as what is being done with abandoned properties throughout the City and the people who live in these buildings. Mr. Finch was unable to attend.

Abandoned properties create a danger to first responders when these properties catch fire, and the buildings must be searched for inhabitants.

Owners of these properties often “get around” the judicial regulations governing boarding houses, and it is difficult for the police as well as code enforcement personnel to enforce City regulations when there are state regulations that contradict the City’s codes.

Jim Kennedy of AC Econ Policy: AC Implementation Plan under estimates the capital resources needed, how deep rooted the AC corrupt civic culture runs, & ignores ticking bomb of NJ/NYC casinos.

The AC Implementation Plan doesn’t go far enough. There’s no real plan to recover the streets from drug addicts. Or how to house the homeless. Or deal w/ rooming houses with primary purpose of warehousing the poor.

$500,000 has been earmarked for Boardwalk repairs and renovations, and that the work is scheduled to begin soon.

A beach smoking ban will go into effect this summer. Enforcement could be challenging.


Police Department Update: Rudy Lushina of ACPD discussed the hiring and assignment of Class 2 Officers for the 2019 season.

The new program where officers will be assigned to patrol specific voting wards (as opposed to precincts) is scheduled to get underway within the next few months. Selection of the officers and training should start in mid-May.

There are 15 new officers coming onto the force; 12 of them will be assigned to the wards and will be on patrol in two shifts from 6 a.m.-1 a.m. daily. In addition to general police duties, they will serve as neighborhood liaisons who will help residents navigate City government.

The officers will not be primary emergency contacts (people should call 911 for all emergencies), but will be active in the communities to help handle and resolve ongoing problems and issues such as trash, abandoned properties, neighborhood disputes, etc. They will help address other long-term issues and will hopefully facilitate things that are not necessarily “police issues” and will either direct people to the right City services, or contact the agencies directly.

Officers do not carry noise meters (the City has its own noise enforcement personnel).

Officer training will include public relations. The goal is not to frustrate our citizens, and provide/simplify City processes. It is hoped the program will help personalize the police department and establish relationships within the community. The officers will stay with the wards they were originally assigned to, so that residents will get to know them. The officers will have business cards with cell phone numbers so people can contact them directly.

Homeless outreach. The main areas covered are Boardwalk, Pacific Avenue, and Atlantic Avenue. The police officers will work with social services to determine an individual’s issues and direct them to the appropriate services.

The discussion of the homeless situation in the City continued. Atlantic City has long been a destination for the homeless because of the abundance of social services that are available here. The City is starting to meet with the various social services providers in order to coordinate who is doing what, in order to make the processes more efficient. Additionally, the City is developing procedures to deal with the larger issues involved.

In response to a question about the Class 2 officers, it was mentioned that there are 11 officers at the Academy, with 19 others scheduled to graduate this spring. Attempts are made to keep the officers on the force and prevent attrition. It is estimated that about 75% of the officers remain on the force for at least a year. Ideally, the best way to retain the Class 2’s is to put them on a path to full-time status. It was announced that there was additional funding for the Atlantic County Police Academy, where the officers are trained.


Public Perceptions: The City is working to refute perception that AC’s crime rate is skyrocketing. Recent newspaper articles appear to highlight the negatives and ignore that in some cases, crime is generally down.

City & CRDA wants citizens to do more of the PR work? Isn’t that something they should handle?

Residents are the best ambassadors for the City; their positive stories and word of mouth can help improve perceptions. But still, PR and marketing of a destination resort is a critical function for professionals. So far, AC had over-paid for so-called professionals, getting little in return.

There is no marketing or PR department for Atlantic City. Past marketing efforts were expensive and ineffective.

The City claims to be working hard with CRDA and Special Improvement District, to produce activities and events. Sadly, both orgs have little to no experience in event marketing.


Where are some of the “real” crime problems in the City? Convenience stores are more likely to see violent crime, while rooming houses see more burglaries.

In response to questions about the rooming house problem, it was indicated that inspections and enforcement are often manpower problems. There are simply not enough personnel available to inspect every legal — let alone illegal — rooming house and then report and enforce violations.


Bicyclists and skateboarders are on the Boardwalk when they shouldn’t be. It is challenging to respect tourist families who may have smaller children with bikes, while keeping an eye out for the regular offenders.

In response to a suggestion about the trams stopping randomly, where official “stops” might be designated by the City, it was indicated that this is an L&I issue.

Shortage of mercantile officers and inspectors. Many merchants appear to be selling unlicensed merchandise, so the City is losing money. It was mentioned that Freeholder Formica has offered to help with Code Enforcement; a response by the City to this offer is expected soon.

Ron Hill provided notes for this ACprimetime analysis and summary.


  1. Anyone who actually thinks the “abundance of social services” is what causes transients to end up in Atlantic City has their eyes shut. City council is spoon feeding us this narrative for extremely cynical reasons. The Jim Johnson report makes clear that our role as tourist/gambling destination is the catalyst for our drug & sex trade, and subsequent influx of transients.The idea that cutting off our OWN residents from direly needed services will somehow stop the city’s drug & sex trade is a fantasy being peddled by councilmen who know better to a white chattering class who know nothing.

  2. Sean Reardon: I was at the meeting and said this: Rooming or Boarding Houses (which are two different types of properties) are not the issue. The Rutgers crime study showed vacant properties and convenience stores are actually the two worst types of properties. The rooming house talk was simply a good buzz word to make concerned citizens feel the city and CRDA had a solution to a problem. The true issue in this city is what I call “Problem Properties” they are generally abandoned or slumlord owned properties. Most of which are row home or regular residential properties, that have been chopped up or even rented by the room with no oversight to undesirable tenants who are constant nuisances to the neighborhood. The landlords don’t care because they are getting paid (a lot of the time via Welfare) and the city is not properly taking an assessment of the problem properties and following up on them. There is a break in the process, there is poor oversight from the top down, and there is no vision.

    1. I am an AC homeowner & have noticed a dramatic increase in the “hang-out” culture at Renaissance Plaza…particularly by the now closed Kentucky Fried Chicken building. Also, the jay walking mentality on Atlantic Ave in that area is unbelievable. These are two issues that need to be adressed.

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